There’s never been a better time to be an IT professional. First, the United States is in the midst of a record-low unemployment rate (though the 2019-2020 coronavirus pandemic is threatening to change that). Second, the available tech talent falls short of available jobs with certain IT sectors such as cybersecurity especially hard hit. It’s positive for IT professionals with the right skills since it increases the probability of securing work. Third, any list of the highest-paying occupations will invariably include tech jobs.
That being said, IT jobs aren’t created equal. The more lucrative the position, the greater the competition. When you apply for a competitive IT role, your resume must make an impression if you want to be invited for an interview. You can combine a service like ResumeBuild with the following tips to make your IT resume stand out.
GET TO THE POINT. FAST!
Recruiters are always on the lookout for certain attributes and capabilities when they skim through a resume in those first 20-30 seconds. This takes on even greater importance when it comes to tech jobs because there’s no in-between - you either have the skills or you don’t. Hiring managers want to see this quickly and will not hesitate to move to the next applicant on the stack if they sense they’re reading an ambiguous, circuitous resume.
Therefore, your most noteworthy skills and accomplishments should be near the top of the page. Recruiters must immediately determine whether your skills and certifications match the demands of the position. They’re interested in the most recent roles you held to confirm you have relevant hands-on experience.
CUSTOMIZE THE RESUME FOR EACH JOB
A generic resume is always a bad idea. For IT jobs, it’s much worse. Tech positions often demand very specific skill sets. For this reason, it’s usually readily apparent to recruiters if a candidate did not take the time to tailor their application accordingly.
Crafting a resume that resonates with the job description gives you a better shot at capturing the hiring manager’s imagination. It takes away the guesswork from the evaluation of your application and makes a compelling case for an interview. Customizing your resume for each job will certainly mean spending more time. However, the substantial increase in interview invitations makes it more than worth it.
GIVE YOUR SKILLS A CONTEXT
This is something IT professionals regularly fail to do. Techies have a reputation for geek-speak. They are more than happy to get by with listing technical terminology they hope the reader will understand. Many IT pros assume that just slapping a list of the programming languages, frameworks, and operating systems they’re good at will be sufficient in giving them the edge over other applicants.
The problem is every other applicant will likely do the same. What distinguishes you from the rest is giving context to your skills. Ergo, instead of listing Linux and Java in your skills section, you’d be better off stating that you developed a specific website using Linux and Java. That way, the recruiter would have a chance to visit the site and see your work in action. Context can also be realized by assigning a rating to your skill level e.g. beginner, intermediate, or expert.
SHOW YOUR SOFT SKILLS
Technical skills are certainly the headline attribute recruiters look for when they examine the resume of an IT job applicant. That said, techies don’t operate in a vacuum. You will have to interact with others including staff, contractors, vendors, and regulators. Soft skills such as communication, collaboration and leadership are essential.
Be subtle when mentioning soft skills—they are complementary to your technical abilities and not the main thing. Make them bulleted while providing practical concise evidence of how you’ve demonstrated the skill at a previous workplace or during extracurricular activity.
The importance of a resume in securing an interview for an IT job cannot be overstated. Use these tips to create a resume that could very well be the ticket to the job of your dreams.